Rechel Hope Cleves's Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America PDF

By Rechel Hope Cleves

ISBN-10: 0199335427

ISBN-13: 9780199335428

Traditional knowledge holds that same-sex marriage is a merely glossy innovation, an idea born of an brazenly smooth way of life that used to be extraordinary in 19th century the US. yet as Rachel wish Cleves demonstrates during this eye-opening booklet, same-sex marriage is hardly ever new.

Born in 1777, Charity Bryant used to be raised in Massachusetts. an excellent and strong-willed girl with a transparent appeal for her personal intercourse, Charity discovered herself banished from her family members domestic at age twenty. She spent the following decade of her lifestyles touring all through Massachusetts, operating as a instructor, making intimate lady acquaintances, and changing into the topic of gossip at any place she lived. At age twenty-nine, nonetheless defiantly unmarried, Charity visited neighbors in Weybridge, Vermont. There she met a pious and studious younger lady named Sylvia Drake. the 2 quickly grew to become so inseparable that Charity made up our minds to hire rooms in Weybridge. In 1809, they moved into their very own domestic jointly, and through the years, got here to be famous, basically, as a married couple. respected via their neighborhood, Charity and Sylvia operated a tailor store utilising many neighborhood girls, served as guiding lighting fixtures inside their church, and took part in elevating their many nieces and nephews.

Charity and Sylvia is the intimate historical past in their impressive forty-four 12 months union. Drawing on an array of unique files together with diaries, letters, and poetry, Cleves lines their lives in sharp aspect. offering an illuminating glimpse right into a courting that turns traditional notions of same-sex marriage on their head, and divulges early the United States to be a spot either extra different and extra accommodating than smooth society may think, Charity and Sylvia is an important contribution to our restricted wisdom of LGBT background in early the United States.

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Additional resources for Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America

Sample text

Young women in the era’s novels are more likely to die from illegitimate childbirth following seductions engineered by false friends. 17 In the view of period novels, the crises in Daniel’s friendship and courtship were sufficient cause for suicide. On the other hand, it is possible that Daniel died from a swiftmoving disease (such as typhus) to which he was exposed in the course of his medical practice. His family’s failure to record his cause of death could be an oversight, not an act of concealment.

And the thirty acres of land Thomas Drake Sr. 13 If the Drake family had reached this impasse a couple decades later, they might have joined the great migration of landless New Englanders into early nineteenthcentury factories. 14 When the Drakes went bankrupt they followed a more traditional pattern of survival: the family split up. The older children were sent to work for relatives. Nineteen-year-old Isaac went to his Uncle Joseph, seventeen-year-old Oliver went to Nathaniel Manley in Bridgewater, and ten-year-old Asaph went to Benjamin Hayward, also in Bridgewater.

24 Lydia cried along with Charity’s letters just the way that many young women cried along to Pamela. The letters were absorbing to Lydia because they painted such a contrast to her own unremarkable life, living at home with her affectionate parents. Charity’s poems were as accomplished as her letters. She wrote her initial poems for other teachers who were her friends. Exchanging handwritten poems was a common practice among respectable young women in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

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Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America by Rechel Hope Cleves


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